Travelling Europe with Eurail

Discussion in 'Your Questions' started by lmpsoares, Nov 15, 2006.

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  1. lmpsoares

    lmpsoares Junior Member

    Nov 15, 2006
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    We are planning our honeymoon to Europe next year and are trying to find the easiest and most cost effective method of transport. I have investigated both busabout and eurail, with eurail seeming the better option. I am aware of advice to purchase before you go. It appears we need Selectpasses. Does anyone know the best place to purchase our tickets for the cheapest price?
     

  2. clifford

    clifford Established Member

    Jul 6, 2004
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    Canberra / London
    My experience suggests that Eurail is pretty much a cartel, ie prices are fairly much the same everywhere. You might find they are a bit cheaper in the US, but the cost of transporting the tickets to Oz tends to nullify that advantage.

    Have you thought about car rental in Europe? In my opinion, it beats the pants off Eurail cost-wise, if there are two of you travelling. And you get to see a lot more, too.

    If you want some more info on this option, I'd be glad to help.

    BTW, I'm renting cars in the UK, USA and also in Austria early next year.
     
  3. lmpsoares

    lmpsoares Junior Member

    Nov 15, 2006
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    Thanks for that.

    Do you know the policy for car rental agencies with driving between countries?

    Perhaps we could do both.

    I hear that trains in Italy are really cheap and that the drivers are 'crazy'. That is why I was worried about driving around Europe.
     
  4. StevePER

    StevePER Established Member

    Oct 17, 2004
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    When I went a couple of years ago I bought a Eurail Selectpass Youth 6 day from eurorailways.com (US company), saved $75 each on the Australian price, and got a free return airport transfer which we used on the Heathrow Express (worth about $60 each?).

    They don't seem as good value anymore though, currently they are about A$20 cheaper on this pass (which will be cancelled out by the shipping costs) but they'll give you an extra day free.

    I would be too scared to drive in Europe but it's probably fine once you're used to it.

    Steve
     
  5. ColinP

    ColinP Member

    May 1, 2006
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    15
    Adelaide
    If you take Clifford's advice and consider driving. -- I've done it and agree with Clifford that it beats the pants off rail or bus travel.
    If your trip is more than 17 days, have a look at Renault Eurodrive (or the Citroen or Peugeot equivalent) I had a Renault Scenic for 6 weeks last year. The car effectively belongs to you (leased) and you are free to go where you please (within the limitations of the insurance policy) but effectively anywhere within Europe. I took mine from France, across the channel to UK then from Newcastle to Bergen on the ferry.
    Don't worry about the driving. After a few days you'll be driving like a local.
    RENAULT EURODRIVE : Free tax discount car rental and lease for expatriate and tourism travel in Europe
     
  6. NM

    NM
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    Aug 27, 2004
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    I bought Eurail passes on-line from RailPlus in Australia. Not sure if they still exist. But you could look through European Rail travel: options from Rail Europe as the starting point. I made all the ticket purchases and seat bookings on-line and they posted the tickets to me before we departed for the trip. Some of the seat reservations could not be made more than 3 monts out, and we were on a 3 month trip with Europe at the end of the 3 months, so some seats had to be booked on-line once we had left Australia. But that was not a problem - the only restriction is that the Eurail pass is purchased before departing.

    We found the trains were a great way to get around Europe. The trains take you right into the city centres so we managed to get around without renting cars and just using public transport of walking once in the cities. We looked for accommodation that was either walking distance from the stations or easily accessible via taxi.

    We used trains as follows:

    London to Paris on Eurostar
    • Paris to Nice
    • Nice to Monaco (day-trip while staying at Nice)
    • Nice to Pisa
    • Pisa to Rome
    • Rome to Venice
    • Venice to Luzern
    • Luzern to Salzburg
    • Salzburg to Berlin

    I recommend paying the extra to reserve seats rather than just boarding the train and looking for an unreserved seat. But we were travelling as a party of 7 people so reserved seating was necessary to ensure we could sit together. We booked the "panoramic" carriage for the trip up through the Alps which was very spectacular.

    I found using the trains was much less stressful than driving in countries where I could read all the road signs. If you choose to drive, then I stringly recommend begging a hand-held GPS with Europe maps.
     
  7. cssaus

    cssaus Active Member

    Dec 13, 2004
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    Sydney
    For a trip to Italy next May, where we plan on driving from Rome to SOrrento and then onto Florence, we're organising a rental car from here in Australia with Europcar. One of the things that I've noticed is that we're not tied to having to pick-up and drop-off at the airports. For a pickup in Rome we're picking up at the Sheraton in the city and for the drop-off in FLorence there is a 24-hr drop off location in the City. The vehicle we're planning on getting is a Renault Espac which is a 7 seater but for 4 passengers and luggage it should provide us with plenty of room.

    I've also acquired a TomTom Go 910 portable navigation system that I plan on taking with me. What I will do is download the maps that I need and I'll be able to enter in my itineraries before I leave Australia. Once we collect the car in Rome it will be a simple case to turn on the TomTom and select the saved itinerary and we'll be on our way.

    We'll be travelling by train from Florence to Venice and from Venice back to Rome but I've been told you can't book train travel until about 2 months out.
     
  8. NM

    NM
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    Aug 27, 2004
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    How much do the maps cost? Where do you download from? I have been contemplating getting one of those but was not sure about getting non-Aussie maps for it.
     
  9. cssaus

    cssaus Active Member

    Dec 13, 2004
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    For the TomTom, you purchase & download the maps from their web site. For the complete set of maps for Western Europe you're looking at about 120 Euros. For a single country map, say Italy, it's about 60 Euros.
     
  10. lmpsoares

    lmpsoares Junior Member

    Nov 15, 2006
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    Just an update on my investigations of driving through Europe instead of Eurail..... though both holidayauto.com.au and driveaway.com.au had excellent deals on car rental (about $700 for 15 days of rental) the one way fee from France to Portugal was 1000 EURO.. yes you heard it correctly... 1000 EURO. It seems that for our particular holiday that car hire is far more expensive that Eurail.. unfortunately!
     
  11. Tiki

    Tiki Member

    Jul 21, 2004
    449
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    BNE
    I'm a bit nervous about driving in foreign countries too, so I vote for the train. They are fast, comfortable, stations are conveniently located and European cities have much better public transport than most Australian cites, especially Brisbane! Plus, you don't have to worry about parking, the price of petrol or break-ins. I did the whole Europe by Eurailpass 15 years ago so that was obviously before online purchasing, but I loved it and wouldn't hesitate to do it again!
     
  12. NM

    NM
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    And you get the opportunity to meet some interesting people. We met a family where the mother was from Melbourne and she had married a Swiss man and now lived in Switzerland with their two children. We also had an interesting conversation with an American family who were holidaying in Austria.

    And with the trains you can go to the toilet any time you need, eat when you want etc. We even took our own food on board and had a picnic lunch on the train. Food can be expensive to purchase on the train, but can generally be purchased near the station and carried on board very easily.

    Not worrying about parking, insurance, getting lost etc is a big advantage for me.
     
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